Letter: Our town
To the Editor:
The Ridgefield Press’ recent article concerning possible disparities in pay of town Board of Education and police departments led me to do some demographic research that might be useful to consider in the upcoming local elections.
Total town revenue = $156,000,000, 78.2 percent of which is derived from real estate taxes. 80 percent ($98,000,000) of revenue (less grants, reimbursements and miscellaneous income) is allocated to BOE and 9 schools, total student population 4,700. 80 percent of that $98,000,000 goes to salaries. [2016 Town Audit]
On the other hand, 44 police officers with six administrative, total 50 men and women, cover 25,008 people, 9,446 household units, 1,073 business units, approx. 2,500,000 sq. ft. of industrial and commercial property [CERC Database] patrol 35 square miles of hilly countryside, and try to fit their vehicles through many narrow stone fences and gates along 168 miles of mainly winding roads. Total public safety (police, fire and EMS), including salary, app. $14,200,000. Both police and fire departments are headquartered in facilities well beyond their useful life.
There is currently some discussion about to the relative priority that should be given to those holding Ph.Ds [See, for instance: Charles W. Cooke, “College Does Not Make You A Better Person,” National Review, July 25, 2019]. I doubt that criminals would be impressed with someone holding an Ivy League degree, unless, of course, they were the thieves themselves.
Attention should be paid to the personnel, equipment, facilities needs of all branches of public safety, but especially our cops. They do a good job in a very dangerous profession.
Danbury Road, Aug. 26